Chinese-American Trade


Understanding one of the world's most important trade relationships

Sino-American trade relations have been at the forefront of media and politics since 2018 due to President Trump’s trade war on Chinese goods. Why did it start, and how did we get here?

This is a study of Chinese and American relations from January 1970 until December 2018 anchored in the exports and imports between the two nation states. In addition to using trade statistics, I will consider political, economic, and social factors that have influenced the Chinese-American relationship since President Nixon’s re-establishment of economic relations with China until December 2018.

Read the overview.

How is this study structured?

By using the American statistics for imports from China and exports to China from the FT990 and US Census Foreign Trade Statistics, I parsed the data that I wanted, cleaned the dataset, and used R and ggplot to create data visualizations. The data is not seasonally adjusted but is adjusted for inflation and spans from January 1970 - December 2018.

Why 1970-2018?

In 1972, President Nixon ended the trade embargo on Chinese goods that began in 1950. I've included the years leading up to Nixon's normalization of relations in order to see the changes over time and how the relationship starts from zero trade.

1970-2018 Monthly Import and ExportsGraphic made by Liz Schilling